Dress-up dilemma

By Maine Manalansan and Tin Sartorio

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Art by GIANNE ENCARNACION

MANILA, Philippines — There are many things a couple can argue about in relationships: texting an ex, installing Tinder or Bumble for no reason at all, and forgetting your anniversary. These are matters that can be easily fixed by an apology (and then some).

However, when your partner tells you that your skirt is too short or you’re too exposed, then maybe it’s time to reconsider your relationship. Here, we present a case on whether you should (or shouldn’t) let your partner tell you what to wear.

DRESSING UP (SHOULDN’T) BE HARD TO DO

If there’s anything we have learned from the cultural classic Clueless, it’s that getting makeovers is fun. That is, if it’s coming from your friends. But if it’s from your significant other, it might be a different story.

Picture this: you plan your outfit the night before a really romantic picnic afternoon. You even scoured countless Reformation Instagram posts for that cute, effortless rattan bag-toting neo-MPDG look. You walk down the stairs with your best glittery foot forward only to be shot down by: “Your skirt is too short. Go change.”

Annoying as that might sound, some people excuse this as concern. And in some cases, it can be. Maybe they think that your outfit is actually ugly. Maybe they only want you to be safe from getting bitten by ants or catcalled by street perverts. But let’s be real here: no matter what you wear, pests (insects and catcallers alike) will always exist. So why won’t they just let you wear what you want?

In any kind of relationship, there has to be respect. You’re both in it because you like each other’s character, and in effect, style. Nobody wants to be with a controlling partner because a relationship should be growing and evolving. If your cute skirt is already a matter of concern, then what other simple thing will be a point of argument later? Don’t even get me started on his victim-blaming tendencies.

At the end of the day, it’s about choice. If wearing that skirt makes you feel good and cute, then by all means, do it. There are only a few things in life that we can freely do, and dressing up should be one of them. If he can’t get behind these simple decisions, then it might be best to part ways. We all know that everything else in life is already restricting enough.                                   — Maine Manalansan

TWO CENTS ARE JUST TWO CENTS

I know what you’re thinking: Why TF is there even another answer to this question? Of course you shouldn’t let your partner — or anyone, really — dictate what you should wear. But it’s more complicated than simply concluding that he’s a manipulative jerk for saying so, and that you should totally just ditch him.

Like you, your partner is absolutely allowed to speak his mind about anything. That includes him having an opinion about the clothes you’re wearing. Our preferences and judgments are shaped by a lot of circumstances, and when it comes to clothing, it can range from weather and aesthetics to culture and tradition. It’s important that we acknowledge those within ourselves, and make sure to communicate those and our intentions clearly to the person we’re giving our two cents to.

But what’s crucial here is the manner by which your partner says what he thinks and how you choose to react to it. It’s more than an issue about clothes, TBH. It’s a lesson on communication. You should respect other people’s opinions, the same way you want yours to be respected. You may take other people’s comments as simply points to consider, but not as rules to live by. In the end, you’re the one who’ll put the clothes on your body. It’s a decision made by yourself, for yourself.

And if your partner talks to you in a very coercive manner, the question you should be asking yourself is: Does he really know you enough to be able to communicate his point that gets through to you? And while you can help him put things into perspective, that’s not your responsibility to fix. But y’know, I’m just sayin’. Again, you do what’s best for you. Other people’s two cents just amount to just two cents anyway.  — Tin Sartorio

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